Lunfardo and gendered discourse: creation and analysis of a linguistic corpus of tango lyrics
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date29/07/2021
Newton-Bruzza, Elaine Renee
This thesis explores the question of how language is used to construct gender in tango lyrics, and it specifically examines lunfardo cultural markers and explores the ways in which these contribute to gendered discourse in the texts. The purpose of this research is twofold: (1) to create the first ever linguistic corpus of tango lyrics, thereby generating a resource that will stimulate further investigation into this topic, and (2) to analyze the relationship between specific gender-related lunfardo terms and discourse prosodies as identified via a corpus linguistics-based analysis of the texts. The linguistic variety lunfardo has been intrinsically linked with tango from its inception and constitutes the distinctive linguistic feature of the texts. This interdisciplinary study investigates how the use of lunfardo vocabulary provides a type of linguistic scaffolding upon which the cultural construction of gender is erected in tango lyrics. Through the creation of the first linguistic corpus of tango lyrics utilizing Sketch Engine (Kilgarriff and Rychlý) and the analysis of selected terms and their collocates, gendered discourse prosodies are identified in the lyrics and quantified. The data from this research establishes that the effects of linguistic variety (i.e. lunfardo and standard Spanish) and gendered terms in the corpus have a statistically significant impact on the creation of discourse prosodies, and reveals unforeseen ways in which lunfardo is preeminent in the construction of gendered discourse in tango lyrics. This thesis then employs a data-driven approach to facilitate and strengthen an analysis of pragmatic and rhetorical elements in representative lyrics through close readings of those texts, presenting evidence for the gendered discourses derived from both the collocational relationships and the statistical results. Through this methodology, this research contributes to an understanding of lunfardo’s impact on the construction of gendered discourse, and also to a nuanced understanding of representations of men and women in tango lyrics. By creating this initial Tango Lyrics Corpus, this research purports to incentivize and facilitate the development of a comprehensive linguistic corpus of tango lyrics with the goal of expanding knowledge of this unique cultural form.